I think something in my head popped when I came across the website of the Nation Starch Food Innovation.
Their site lede is: “Enhancing the performance of foods around the world.”
Performance of foods? What?
I think National Starch, the company behind the site, stands as a good example of everything that has broken down as a result of the pervasive modern belief that our science and technology is going to be our salvation. In this company we have the idea that we can take food, turn it into chemicals, then make it into even better food, which even better food is contributing to a nation of expanding waistlines and ever increasing sedentary lifestyles.
Not to mention that, while science and technology is busy improving the performance of our food, the people growing it are steadily going bankrupt and, in some cases, starving while our economy pays the toll for all of the hidden costs in the form of stagnant wages, volatility, and under employment and our environment pays the toll with unchecked pollution, massive resource consumption, and a failure to maintain the system that was maintaining itself before we started jacking with it.
Now, some of you might take a step back from this post and say, “whoa, when did Dennis become a liberal?” The facts of the matter are that I am no more associated with modern liberalism or leftism than I have ever been, but I am also a realist, and I can see when things are broken and need to be fixed. Science and technology have provided us with many good things, but like most things, they are not the panacea for everything. Science and technology must take their place among a variety of considerations that we all have before us including faith, logic, and awareness of our surroundings.
If one looks at a company like National Starch from perspectives other than science and technology, I do not believe that one can come away feeling anything other than like something tragic is missing from their whole idea of food and of people. Is food merely the fuel for a human machine? I do not believe so, and I am sad for you if you do.
All of this makes me that much more glad that I’m headed to the Second Street Market tomorrow to shop. I doubt any of the farmers there are concerned about the performance qualities of their food, but I know they care about it’s quality.